Pictures Courtesy of The African Cultural Heritage Trust (ACHT) / Zindala Zombili
The Ubuntu Institute Environmental Sustainability programme seeks to mobilize traditional and community leaders to get involved in environmental education, awareness and sustainability programmes using indigenous methods in Southern Africa.
Africa is rich in natural resources, such as forests, wetlands, wildlife, minerals, fisheries, and many others. However, many of these natural resources are under threat from globalization and a lack of education in the sustainable preservation of environmental assets persists. The Ubuntu programme seeks to support the effective development of environmental management and protection systems in traditional, indigenous communities.
Galvanizing traditional cultural leaders to advocate for environmental protection
Driven by our strategy, Ubuntu will carry out the following specific activities:
Strategy 5.1: Coordination ofregional community traditional leaders to engage in the environmental preservation initiatives in the SADC region.
Strategy 5.2: Capacity Building of community indigenous leaders in effective systems of environmental management. Community indigenous leaders will be trained in environmental management systems so that they can ensure that natural resources can survive while being used rationally thus providing the foundation for sustainable development in areas such as forestry, water management, wildlife management (and reversing poaching), minerals management, fisheries management, protecting ecosystems and many other environmental issues.
Strategy 5.3: Education and Awareness- In Africa, the UN estimates that water scarcity afflicts 300 million people and claims at least 6,000 lives a year. The Ubuntu Environmental education and awareness programmes driven will be targeted at mostly communities in rural areas looking at practical actions/steps that can be taken by communities to preserve the environment.
Strategy 5.4: Advocacy- working with traditional leaders to lead advocacy campaigns that can galvanize communities to preserve the environment and use culturally sensitive ways/approaches to environmental education in rural economies. This would lead to increased education on environmental issues e.g. water scarcity and regional sharing of best practices of environmental preservation.
Strategy 5.4: Research- Research will be done to further investigate the role of indigenous knowledge systems in environmental protection. More work needs to done in researching perceptions of people and leaders in rural communities on the importance of environmental preservation and their role in it. Rural people are also mostly affected by global change as droughts, floods and severe weather affects their daily lives and immediate environment. Some of these changes and impact will be studied in the Ubuntu programme. The key outcome would not only be information on the intersection of culture and the environment, but also guidance on how to design evidence-based solutions should be incorporated indigenous so that environmental protection is ‘owned’ by the communities themselves.